Sunday, April 26, 2015

Combining methods--weaves revisited

Every dog is a different training experience and as I have already mentioned I am trying different things with Hoot.  I hate doing the same thing over and over again, even if it is successful.  I always want to at least tweak my process.  Optimist that I am, I know that even the most perfect process can be made better.

I decided to go back to the channel weaves with Hoot.  Tip and Split were both trained with channels and Tangle was trained with 2x2's.  I liked both methods.  I felt like the channels taught the dog foot work and speed a bit better, and 2x2's taught entries better.  Channels with Tip and Split were hell to get the last inch closed.  Seemed like I was working hard and it took at least a month or more.

With Hoot, because I was taking Silvia's foundation class I decided to start with her method, which is channels.

I started Hoot on channels.  They were wide open and she didn't wiggle her body at all in them.  We worked all the entries, speed, sequencing through the next several months or so and only about once a week (probably less).  I have to say, mentally I wasn't really serious about teaching them since I knew that I wouldn't start closing the weaves for a long, long time!  I am in no hurry with Hoot and weaves aren't the funnest thing we work on.

So about a month ago I started closing them figuring it would take months.  We did them only in sequences, never more than a couple of times per session.  Like I said I wasn't really into teaching them.

About 5 days ago I started teaching her 2x2's.  She was having trouble with really acute angle entries.  Figured 2x2's would be a nice tool to help with that and it lessens the amount of poles she has to do.  Again, what do I have to loose right?  Holy cow, she got 2x2's in a couple of days and we were up to 6 weaves.

On a whim I closed the channels (they were about 2 inches open) just to see.  Holy cow, she weaved!!

I don't think that it is because Hoot is super special smart, I really think that all the hard work was done with the channels still wide open and then the 2x2's bridged the gap for her.

I think that I am now sold on channels in the beginning.  I can teach all the harder skills without being hard on the dog's body and then use 2x2s just to teach the closed pole concept.

Never hurts to have more tools in the bag of tricks!


A Nelson said...

We haven't learned weaves yet in our agility class, our trainer does them as a separate teaching class all on it's own. I must admit though they've seemed really hard to teach, but I just watched some videos about the 2x2 teaching method and the channels and now they don't seem so daunting! Thank you! I hadn't heard of those techniques before.
Ziva is super fast and will do anything for a ball, so I try to incorporate it into as much of our agility training as possible. I think either method would work really well for her. :-) And that gives me some confidence to maybe try it out at home.

Great job with Hoot!!

Mary said...

I think that Silvia's method is the easiest to pick up if you haven't trained weaves before. 2x2's aren't hard to learn, just a few more particulars that you need to be disciplined about.

Good luck and keep in touch with your progress.

Mary said...

I was so happy to see this post since the primary method where I have been training is 2x2, but I wanted to start with channels for my young Malinois. So, while we started with channels at home, we just added 2x2 training, when it came up in class. As with many "combined methods" (I am also mixing stopped and running contacts for the same reason), I found that the biggest problem was getting clear signals straight in *my* head, and to a lesser extent her puzzlement at first. Getting distinct signals has been trickier than I thought it would be (e.g., with weaves, I have a tendency to yell "Go, go, go" from channel training, which was too driving for 2x2) and resulted in some stress on my part -- which, of course, translated to my dog, especially with some performance anxiety in class. All in all, though, now that we are past the introductory "both-at-the-same-time" methods, she seems to a have really great understanding of weaves, which isn't really surprising, I guess, since she has a richer set of "pictures" in her mind about how to do poles. The biggest problem is that, probably because of driving through flimsy stick-in-the-grounds, she is having to learn not to hit the more rigid regulation poles so hard -- I worry about her shoulders of course -- as that displaces the first set of six when the set is not strongly tethered to the ground, and can result in her popping out in the second set of six. My poor instructor was great in letting me "go my own way," given that she had someone in class not doing entirely what she recommends (correctly, for that class, I think) in class.

Mary said...

Cool. Love to hear how your stopped and running contacts go as well.